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THERE are many names which flit like pale ghosts without sub- 
stance through the corridors of the past, seen now and then 
in a brief glimpse at some propitious moment, and then once more 
dislimning when the hour is gone. Poor flies in amber, they are 
preserved for us by the casual mention of some greater man with 
whom long since they used to hold converse on affairs of state. Such 
a name is that of Samuel Hartlib, whom few know in these days ex- 
cept as the person to whom Milton addressed his tractate Of Edu- 
cation, that wonderful idealistic plan 

too bright and good 
For human nature's daily food, 

in which he legislated, it has been said, for a college of Miltons. 

"A person sent hither," the Latin secretary calls him, "by some 
good providence from a far country, to be the occasion and incite- 
ment of great good to this island." If Lycidas has forever en- 
shrined the tenuous and uninteresting Mr. King, has rescued him 
from the waves of the Irish Sea and made him what Shelley calls a 
"nursling of immortality," this sentence, one would think, might 
ensure Hartlib a proportionate measure of commemoration, even to- 
day. Rathe primrose and pansy freaked with jet for the hapless 
divinity student; but one little sprig of rosemary for remembrance 
to "honest and learned Mr. Hartlib," as Evelyn calls him, "a public- 
spirited and ingenious person." 

Born probably in Poland, he seems to have come from Prussia 
into England in 1628 ; and from then until his death in 1662, in spite 
of depressing poverty and illness that grew more and more torturing 
in his last years, he labored night and day for the promotion of 
learning. He was in constant correspondence with the most dis- 
tinguished scholars of the day — a day of most laudable zeal for the 
increase of knowledge. He was fertile in projects for the spread of 
scholarship and the useful arts, from husbandry to music. He was 
ever ready to furnish a commendatory preface to any publication 
directed to these ends, or to rack his brains to find means to pay the 
printer of some learned work which could not anticipate a large sale. 
He is constantly mentioned with respect by Cambridge Platonists 
and men of science; and though, for all his "pansophical knowledge," 
he was no experimentalist, the inspiration he afforded may have had 
not a little to do with the gradual growth of what was to be the Royal 
Society, amidst the disorders of the Commonwealth time. 

Usually, indeed, these placid scholars contrived to enwrap them- 
selves in a philosophic calm while the clash of arms and the breaking 


up of laws went on all about them. Hartlib writes from London 
before the sound of the jubilant trumpets proclaiming the Restora- 
tion has died away, and only mentions incidentally that the King 
is reported to be "a Teutonicus and lover of chymistry," as well 
as "an extraordinary lover of musick"; and Worthington goes up 
from Cambridge, apparently without emotion, in company with other 
heads of houses and doctors, to present a loyal address to the sover- 
eign whose return was to mean his own removal from his mastership 
two months later. 

Yet, as Diogenes was troubled by the shadow of Alexander, there 
were times when the noise and turmoil were too much for their peace, 
and they felt the need of shelter in which no alterations of polity 
should force them to lay aside their folios. Through their sober cor- 
respondence runs a thread of hope that their castle in Spain may 
become "a habitable mansion on a gravel soil" — though Stevenson's 
modern phrase is too prosaic for their imaginings, which are usually 
tinted with the stately colors of Solomon's House as described by 
Bacon. The loss of the manuscript of "my Lord Verulam's de 
Arthritide, a most elaborate tract," which Hartlib deplores, made 
little difference to any but gouty old gentlemen; but had the New 
Atlantis sunk beneath the waves, more than one seventeenth-century 
scholar would have been at a loss for a model to his projected abode 
of learning. 

One of the most finished and fascinating of these designs is that 
drawn up by John Evelyn in 1659, and sent by him to Boyle as 
something not too elaborate and Utopian to be realized ' ' in this sad 
Catalysis and inter hos armorum strepitus." Six founders are all 
that he postulates for his society, and the total cost is to be within 
£1,600. The details are so charming that it is difficult to keep quo- 
tation within bounds. He proposes "the purchasing of 30 or 40 
acres of land, in some healthy place, not above 25 miles from London, 
of which a good part should be tall wood, and the rest upland pas- 
tures, or down, sweetly irrigated." Should they find no adequate 
house, he has his plans all ready for building, with behind the house 
"a plot walled in of a competent square for the common seraglio, 
disposed into a garden ; or it might be only carpet, kept curiously, 
and to serve for bowls, walking, or other recreations." The rule of 
life is drawn out with the same loving care, from ' ' at six in the sum- 
mer prayers in the chapel" through a calm and studious day to bed 
at nine. Distractions, if allowed, are not of the fiercer kind — "all 
play interdicted, sans bowls, chess, etc."; and there is a prescription 
which anticipates the memorable conclusion of Candide, "every one 
to cultivate his own garden." The plan exposed in detail, Evelyn 


addresses Boyle in a strain of enthusiasm in its commendation. 
"And, sir, is not this the same that many noble personages did at the 
confusion of the empire by the barbarous Goths, when St. Hierome, 
Eustochium, and others retired from the impertinencies of the world 
to the sweet recess of such societies in the east, till it came to be 
burthened with the vows of superstition, which can give no scandal 
to our design, that provides against all such snares." 

But the excellent Evelyn, as I have said, was by no means singu- 
lar in his desire to escape the confusion of the times. In a Proposi- 
tion for the Advancement of Experimental Philosophy, published in 
1661, Abraham Cowley, whose death — three weeks after Paradise 
Lost was published — was recorded as that of the greatest poet in 
England, sets forth a scheme even more elaborate. His foundation 
is a little more costly than Evelyn's ; £4,000 a year is the revenue that 
it is presumed to need. But on this sum are to be supported fifty- 
six persons, from "twenty philosophers or professors" at the head, 
and sixteen young scholars under their direction, down to "four old 
women, to tend the chambers, keep the house clean and such-like 
services." The details are worked out much more practically than 
you would expect from a poet, and make delightful reading ; but I 
have not space to expatiate upon them; the curious may read them 
in his Works. 1 

And, apart from these plans for giving pansophical learning a 
local habitation, throughout the whole of Hartlib's correspondence 
runs the wistful aspiration towards some corporate support in his 
projects for the spread of knowledge and the amelioration of the 
race. As early as 1641 he had sent forth, though without his name, 
a pamphlet embodying his ideal: "A description of the famous 
kingdom of Macaria, shewing its excellent government, wherein the 
inhabitants live in great prosperity, health, and happiness." And 
until almost the very end of his laborious and painful life, his eyes 
brighten as he speaks of some encouragement to his hopes. In his 
intimate letters the name Macaria stands for a society which was to 
unite men of power and wealth with the professed philosophers of 
the day and render possible many an undertaking which must else 
have languished. More than once he speaks of learned treatises 
which can look for no promotion, "except from the most desirable 
Macaria." In 1660, under the influence of fair promises from cer- 
tain great men, he is convinced that the day is about to dawn. The 
learned labors of Petit upon Josephus should be published: "If 
Macaria were but once extant or acting, I am still of my former opin- 
ion, that they have enough for the purchasing of such things, and 

i Ed. Hurd, I., 219. 


for the accomplishing of harder matters. The last secret informa- 
tion tells me they are agreed. I believe they will now within a few 
days publickly appear." 

Gradually, however, the rainbow colors faded. This was in 
June ; and by the middle of October he was writing to Worthington : 
"We were wont to call the desirable society by the name of Antilia, 
and sometimes by the name of Macaria : but name and thing is as 
good as vanished." The name Antilia, he says in a later letter, was 
taken from "a former society that was really begun almost to the 
same purpose a little before the Bohemian wars ; I never desired the 
interpretation of it." Apparently the omniscient Crossley did not 
think it worth while to be more curious when he edited these letters ; 
but I am tempted to go further and offer the conjecture that the title 
may have looked forward to the position reached by Hartlib in 1661, 
when he bravely writes : " Of the Antilian Society the smoke is over, 
but the fire is not altogether extinct. It may be it will flame in due 
time, though not in Europe." For when his hope vanishes in Eng- 
land, he says significantly to Worthington, "Gentlemen of your ac- 
quaintance are much in love with the country of Bermuda, as the 
fittest receptacle for the gallantest spirits to make up a real Maca- 
ria." It seems possible that even before the Bohemian wars some 
eyes may have turned longingly to the Fortunate Isles where, as in 
this very generation Waller sang, 

huge lemons grow 
And orange4rees which golden fruit do bear, 
Th' Hesperian garden boasts of none so fair; 
Where shining pearl, coral, and many a pound 
On the rich shore of ambergris is found. 

Well, why not? 

America has many things of which to be legitimately proud: is 
there any sufficient reason why it should not also have the credit, 
wherever learning is loved, of accomplishing by a joint effort some 
of the big tasks in the field of scholarship for whose completion the 
world is waiting ? 

Our kinsfolk who speak our language have other work just now. 
Oxford and Cambridge are but thinly tenanted by a few grave 
elders : England must build the temple of learning, if at all, as in the 
days of Nehemiah — the sword in one hand, the trowel in the other. 
And while they are fighting to keep undiminished for us the freedom 
of the civilization which we love, shall we do nothing but grow rich ? 
They and we, it is true, have vied in offering hospitality to the exiles 
of Louvain; but we may, if we choose, do more. We may set our- 
selves to the doing of more than one great piece of scholarly work, 
too great for the single scholar of slender means. 



Let me suggest an answer to the question. Our millionaires 
have been generous enough in bestowing rich endowments on tech- 
nical, chemical, medical research; and that is well. But there are 
branches of learning which neither add to the commercial wealth of 
our country nor promote the bodily health of our people ; and for 
them no millions are offered. Scholars talk quietly of these together, 
and wish that they might live to see this or that great work done ; 
and they separate with but little hope that their wishes will be 

But are millions needed ? I think not. I am wishful to propose 
a plan which I think perfectly feasible, for the making of first one 
and then another substantive advance. 

The initial step would be the formation of a body of say twenty 
scholars of national reputation whose names would be a guarantee 
alike of the seriousness of the undertaking and of the worthiness of 
the aims pursued by those who would work under their direction. 
It is not necessary in this initial discussion to mention names ; the 
requisite score will probably suggest themselves without difficulty 
to most of those who read these pages. 

On the publication of the list and with the sanction of these 
honored names, an appeal is made for annual subscriptions of $100 
to the working fund — not an endowment, but an assurance that the 
governing body shall be able to spend so many thousands a year on 
whatever undertaking it decides shall be the first. Is it credible that 
one man in every million of our population can not be found to give 
$100 a year to such a cause? Yet even that means an income of 
$10,000, with which a good deal could be done. Twice or three 
times the number might well be discovered; and then, with such a 
nucleus, a multitude of smaller subscriptions would soon flow in from 
those who could not give much besides their hearty sympathy. 

The next step would be to select as many men as the funds would 
permit, of approved scholarship, preferably men not long out of col- 
lege and with the zeal of youth still upon them — and set them to 
work. There are many such men who would be only too glad to give 
two, three, five years to such work if they could be assured of a live- 
lihood. I know them ; we all know them. As it is, they must earn 
their bread by the exacting labor of the class-room, and give but the 
occasional hours of their vacations to dreams of "great things un- 
done." Very probably projects would be preferred which would 
permit of cooperation, of the cumulative work of a number of men 
over a period of years which could be shortened as the funds in- 
creased ; and the material thus gathered would in many cases be put 


in permanent form by a man possessed of the rarer synthetic gift. 
Publishing would again be a matter of funds ; a printing plant is an 
obvious development when the time comes for it. 

I hesitate to specify particular undertakings, lest, by failing to 
include the particular interests of one reader or another, I should 
leave any cold; but it is too vague to say simply that they would 
range over at least literature, classical scholarship, and history. I 
shall, therefore, name a few things which happen to come to mind — 
of course such a governing body as I propose could be trusted to 
make a wise choice among all the tempting alternatives. 

1. An adequate history of the Renaissance, making use for the 
first time of the incredibly large amount of material now accessible. 
The Italian government is encouraging the publication of the old 
chronicles, of a new Muratori, of the epistolaries of famous men, of 
the archives of the great baronial families, such as the Colonna — 
sumptuous volumes, every page of which is a challenge to the scholar. 
Whole periods of history await a rewriting. An exhaustive diction- 
ary and bibliography of the Italian humanists alone is a mighty task ; 
and though a single overworked individual has already set his hand 
to it, it is evidently one for cooperative effort. 

2. Organized work for America similar to that performed by the 
Early English Text Society; to assemble, edit, and publish (from 
rare early editions and from the great mass of manuscripts in the 
possession of our various state historical societies) colonial journals, 
relations, letters, and other documents of economic, historical, or 
humanistic interest. 

3. A supplement to DuCange's inestimable Glossary, working 
over the large number of medieval texts which have become acces- 
sible since the last edition was published some thirty years ago. 

4. In the field of dramatic literature, a complete list of English 
plays, with a critical survey of editions (much work on single au- 
thors and plays has been done in recent years, but no reliable gen- 
eral list exists) ; or an English dramatic history, based perhaps on 
Genest, that should give whatever is known of stage history. This 
latter would include a complete critical bibliography, even of diaries, 
memoirs, proclamations, contracts, that throw light on the subject. 
Information on English dramatic history is now hopelessly scat- 
tered; the results of much important research have been published 
in inaccessible periodicals, and much remains to be done, especially 
in eighteenth-century drama. 

5. A history of the Jesuits, on such a scale as Lord Acton might 
have planned. Whatever view, admiring or hostile, one takes of this 
stirring society, it is incontestable that they have touched the his- 


tory of the last four hundred years at innumerable points ; and, ex- 
cellent work as has been lately done on special parts, there is in 
English no respectable history of their operations as a whole. Yet 
the facilities for such a work are now far greater than they have 
ever been before. 

6. A series of summaries of monographs in various languages, 
arranged by subjects; a series of intelligent indices to certain large 
and frequently used works now without them ; and other such tools 
for the hand of the next generation of scholars. 

7. A beginning to be made at an enormous but invaluable piece 
of work — the sort of encyclopaedia which, as my friend, Professor 
Alexander, of Nebraska, has suggested, 2 is the only sort that is worth 
while beginning for the future on a large scale: a rivulet of text 
meandering through a meadow of bibliography; a bibliography not 
made, as they have too often been, in the manner of a hasty after- 
thought, consisting of titles carelessly swept together from other 
reference works, but slowly and thoughtfully constructed by men 
who have read the books they recommend and can say which are 
worth while and why; in a word, "the slow assembling and refining 
of that ever-increasing expression of fact and fancy which we call 
the course of civilization." 

For myself, I should like to see at least a man or two kept con- 
stantly busy with careful copying and intelligent editing for publi- 
cation of the vast mass of historical manuscripts which are useless 
now to those who can not afford to spend months in London and 
Paris, Vienna and Rome. But if I were to name all the fascinating 
things I should like to see accomplished, I should never have done. 
The point is that not a few of them could be done, if some such 
plan as I have here briefly outlined were put into operation; and 
many a scholar would have cause to bless "the most desirable 
Macaria. ' ' 

Surely in this age, in this country of unbounded resources, one 
need not end as Cowley did in 1661: "All things considered, I will 
suppose this proposition shall encounter with no enemies: the only 
question is, whether it will find friends enough to carry it on from 
discourse and design to reality and effect ; the necessary expenses of 
the beginning (for it will maintain itself afterwards) being so great 
(though I have set them as low as is possible in order to so vast 
work), that it may seem hopeless to raise such a sum out of those few 
dead relics of human charity and public generosity which are yet 
remaining in the world." 

1 think better of America than that. A. I. du P. Coleman. 
College op the City of New York. 

2 New Republic, August 12, 1916.